I love being a Deacon in the Catholic Church. I get to experience both sides of our faith. On the clerical side I get to meet some really great people whose faith is much stronger than mine. On the other side I get to see things differently because I am a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and so on.
I bring this up because we have entered the half way point of our Advent journey. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent called Gaudete Sunday which in Latin means rejoice. I remember about 12 years ago sitting at my daughter Samantha’s kitchen table and looking at her Advent wreath. It was a simple ceramic piece that was circular with 4 spots to put the candles. What was amazing was the words etched in under each candle. I didn’t know that each week had a corresponding name associated with it. The four candles correspond to the Advent candle we light each week at Mass.
Here are the names associated with the candles:
Advent week 1 – Hope: Prophecy Candle (purple) the first Sunday of Advent leads us to anticipate the birth of Christ
Advent week 2 – Peace: Bethlehem Candle (purple) reminds us of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem
Advent week 3 – Joy: Shepherd’s Candle (pink) takes us back to the joyful anticipation of the shepherds who journeyed to see Jesus
Advent week 4 – Love: Angel’s Candle (purple) the ultimate love of God that He might send His only Son for us.
In some homes and parishes, people will also light a fifth candle on Christmas to represent the birth of Jesus; this candle, when added to the Advent wreath, is typically white and larger than the other candles and is placed in the center of the wreath.
The Advent Season is all about reflecting on how we can prepare our hearts and homes for Christ's birth in the world as it is today. It is a time for faith communities and families to remember, through prayer, reflections, special music, and good deeds what the true meaning of Jesus' birth is: that Jesus came into our world to save us, to live within us and to remain with us always. Have a blessed Advent Season.